LAHORE: The 72nd Punjab Games were inaugurated in a colourful opening ceremony here at the Punjab Stadium on Wednesday night.
Around 3,000 male and female players from all nine divisions of Punjab — Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha and Sahiwal — are featuring in 21 disciplines at the Games. The competitions in various disciplines will continue till April 6. Lahore Division are the defending champions at the Games.
The Punjab Games, after a lapse of eight years, are being organised by Sports Board Punjab (SBP) in collaboration with the Punjab Olympic Association.
At the opening ceremony, the marching athletes received huge applause from the crowd. The events of aerobics, gymnastics, Sufi dance were displayed. Furthermore, a Turkish band and singer Saher Ali Bagga also entertained the crowd with national songs during the ceremony.
The badminton event also started at the Gymnasium Hall, Nishtar Sports Complex. On the first day, the competition entered the quarter-finals stage in both men’s singles and doubles.
Pakistan’s international wrestler Inam Butt lit the games torch which reached him from current and former sports greats like hockey Olympians Khawaja Junaid, Rehan Butt, current tennis star Ushna Sohail, international weightlifter Nooh Dastgir Butt and former Olympian athlete Shabana Akhtar.
The opening ceremony was delayed for hours after chief guest Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar could not arrive at the venue. Though the organisers kept waiting for the chief guest till 8:15pm, he did not turn up after which the provincial sports minister inaugurated the four-day gala.
Meanwhile in the table tennis event, Lahore outplayed Sargodha 3-0, Faisalabad struggled to overpower Rawalpindi 3-2. Gujranwala emerged easy winners against Dera Ghazi Khan 3-1 while Multan also registered an easy 3-0 victory over Bahawalpur.
In kickboxing, Danish Anjum of Sahiwal defeated Siraj Ali (Rawalpindi) in 51kg category. Bilawal Hussain Gujranwala outclassed Sargodha’s Shahid Ali in 53kg bout.
The athletics competitions of special persons were held at Punjab Stadium. Azhar Ali of Faisalabad won the 100m PD one arm boys event with the time of 19.10 while Naeem Masih of Lahore and Liaquat Ali of Sahiwal came second and third, respectively.
In 100m girls (V.I), Rawalpindi’s Kiran Rafiq (19.20) obtained the top position followed by Attiya (Sargodha) and Huma Ashraf (Lahore).
Men’s singles: Yousuf Rehman (Gujranwala) bt Sarmad Umair (Sarghodha) 21-14, 21-17; M. Asim (Multan) bt Mohammad Aqif Bhatti (Bahawalpur) 21-15, 21-8; Muqeet Tahir (Sahiwal) bt Hassan Asghar (Bahawalpur) 21-6, 21-15; Muqsit Islam (Faisalabad) bt Jalees Khan (Bahawalpur) 21-19, 21-16; Ammar Masood (Lahore) bt Zia-ul-Haq (DG Khan) 21-16, 21-13; Muteeb Sohail Dar (Rawalpindi) bt Usman Butt (Faisalabad) 21-18, 21-12; Ahmer Jalal (Lahore) bt Waseem Sarwar (Gujranwala) 17-21, 21-14, 21-13; Irfan (Sahiwal) bt Ijaz Ali (Sargodha) 21-9, 18-21, 21-16; M. Asim (Multan) bt M Faeez (DG Khan) 24-22, 21-11; Yousuf Rehman (Gujranwala) bt Ahmed Hassan Janjua (Rawalpindi) 20-22, 21-19, 21-13
Men’s singles (quarter-finals): Muqeet Tahir (Sahiwal) bt Muqsit Islam (Faisalabad) 21-12, 21-16; Muteeb Sohail Dar (Rawalpindi) bt Irfan (Sahiwal) 21-18, 19-21, 21-10; Ahmer Jalal (Lahore) bt M. Asim (Multan) 21-15, 21-14; Ammar Masood (Lahore) bt Yousuf Rehman (Gujranwala) 21-18, 21-23, 26-24
Men’s doubles (first round): Tayyab Bashir-Hassan (Sargodha) bt Usama-Faizan (Bahawalpur) 21-8, 21-14; Anees Khan-Jalees Khan (Multan) bt Muqsit Islam-Shahzaib (Faisalabad) 21-14, 21-15
Quarter-finals: Uaakeph-Muteeb Sohail (Rawalpindi) bt Tayyab Bashir-Hassan (Sargodha) 16-21, 21-13, 21-15; Ahmer Jalal-Gohar Azam (Lahore) bt Zia-Ul-Haq-Faeez (DG Khan) 21-17, 21-16; Muqeet Tahir-Irfan (Sahiwal) bt Yousuf Rehman-Waqar (Gujranwala) 21-17, 19-21, 21-1
Results (athletics, special):
100m girls (H.I): 1 Sana Batool (Rawalpindi), 2 Memoona (Lahore), 3 Javeria (Faisalabad)
100m boys (M.C): 1 Sultan (Gujranwala), 2 Anas Muawia (Lahore), 3 A Saboor (Faisalabad)
100m boys (H.I): 1 Rasheed Ali (Faisalabad), 2 M. Ahmed (Rawalpindi), 3 M. Jansher (Sargodha).
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2019